Not even good people are good in a hurry

It’s Thursday morning, 7:12.

Breakfast club at school has already started. Lyndsey parks the car opposite to the school. Before the car has come to a halt, she asks her daughters to hurry up, to grab their bags so they can run out of the car and to the school. As always when there is no time, the little one cannot get her seat belt off and the oldest forgets the gym clothes in the car, so they must go back again, just as they were about to cross the street. 7:16. Will school let her children eat breakfast when they are this late?

Just outside of school there is a little boy, five years old. He is alone, crying. Looking at each grown up that passes him by. When Lindsey crosses the street with her daughters, he looks at her too. His lips trembling, his eyes hopeful. Lindsey rushes past the little boy, hunches down to kiss her girls goodbye before rushing back to her car to get to work.

It’s Thursday morning, 6:52.

Breakfast club starts in 8 minutes. They have plenty of time. Lyndsey parks the car opposite to the school. She talks to her daughters about their day, all the things they will do. The little one needs some help with the seat belt. Lindsey reminds the oldest to bring the gym clothes as well. As they cross the street they talk and laugh. Lindsey sees a little, sad boy just outside of school. When she comes up to him, she sits down, asks why he is sad. Has he lost mum and dad? The boy nods, tears rolling down his cheeks. Lindsey pulls him to her chest, explains that everything will be alright, she will help him.

Photo by Nicholas Githiri from Pexels

John Darley and Daniel Batson, two Princeton University Psychologists, performed a study based on the biblical story of the good Samaritan. Some seminarians in the study were told they were late. Others were told they had enough time. Of those who felt they had time, 63% stopped to help a person in distress. Only 10% of those in a hurry stopped.

Not even good people are good when they are in a hurry.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller The Tipping Point, this is referred to as “the power of context”.

Don’t let time pressure turn you into someone you don’t want to be.
Manage your time – manage your life.


What you are ready to die for, others don’t even want

It’s European election night as I write this, and I am in Kiev, Ukraine. A few days ago, I visited Independence square, or as they call it here: Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Walking on that square and reading more about what happened here 5 years ago, reminded me that some are willing to die for what others take for granted, or don’t even want.

Euromaidan started November 2013 on the Maidan. It was a wave of demonstrations, sparked by the Ukrainian government's decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union. There was more to it, including the perception of widespread government corruption and violation of human rights in Ukraine. The protests culminated in February 2014. More than 100 protesters were killed. Here in Ukraine the victims are often referred to the Heavenly Hundred.

In one country, people get killed for wanting to get closer to the EU. In another, discussions about how to leave the EU continue for months. And the weekend I write this, during election night, a lot of EU citizens have not even bothered to vote.

Regardless of what you think about any of this, it is a reminder that you may be willing to die for something that others don’t care about or don’t even want.
What does that mean for you?
That you should listen to your inner voice.
Don’t doubt it just because others may think differently.

  • Do you want to go for your own business rather than staying in your current job, but you doubt yourself because your colleagues are perfectly happy being employed?
  • Or are you the one loving your job, but feeling as if you should be making a major change?
  • Is everyone around you getting married, expecting you to be too, even if you like your life as single with short relationships?
  • Do you wonder if it is time to get children, even if you don’t feel ready for it?

You will not find the answers by looking at others. They are not you. Only you are you.

Give yourself at least five minutes a day, to listen to your own voice. If you haven’t heard it for a while, be patient. After some practice, the chatter in your head will calm down enough for you to hear it.

You may love what someone else doesn’t care about.
That’s OK.
Figure out what is right for you, regardless of what others do. Then give it all you’ve got.


Become a terror management expert

 “So how will you celebrate your big day?”

Anne smiled at Agnes. The smile put wrinkles around the grey eyes.
Carmel winced.

“Oh please, don’t talk about it. Forty years old. It is hardly something to celebrate, is it?

Anne leaned backwards. They were sitting in her kitchen, having afternoon tea together. Like they did every Wednesday.

“Well, it’s better than the alternative”, she said, with the calm voice Carmel recognized from her childhood, when Anne’s house had been her second home.  

“I know, I know. I am happy to be alive and healthy. But knowing that from now on it will all go downhill… I don’t know, I find it scary. From now on my health will get worse, my parents will need more and more help - they are almost as old as you are – and if I want to change careers it will be hard.”

Anne put her thick grey hair behind her ear, still smiling.

“I know, Carmel continued, “that it seems silly to say that to you. How old are you now?”

“Oh, old enough not to count. Forty-eight is all I remember.”

“Forty-eight? You are in your seventies, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I suppose I am, I was born in nineteen forty-eight so… seventy-one this year.”

“Well, isn’t lonely to be without your parents? And then your hip…”

“I have never been happier.”

Carmel’s eyes widened.

“I used to worry so much. I don’t worry anymore. There is no point. So, I will die soon? What else is new? Meanwhile I can enjoy being with my grandchildren.”

Carmel let her finger trace the rim of the teacup. Anne sensed her embarrassment and gently caressed her hand.

 “I felt the same when I was your age. I was worried about growing old. If I had known then how much I would enjoy it, I could have saved myself so much worry.”

Photo by Italo Melo from Pexels

Jeffrey Kluger wrote in TIME about “The surprising joy of old age”. Psychologists and other investigators have found that old age is often a time defined not by sorrow, dread and regret but rather by peace, gratitude and fulfillment. They conclude that seniors become masters of “terror management theory”.

How about not waiting until you get old?
Stop worrying and make the most of what you have here and now!


You don’t need a smoke. You need a break.

Paul, who had been hunched over with his nose close to the computer screen the whole morning, suddenly sat up. For a short moment he held his head with both hands, making his hair messy. Then he stood up.
“I need a break. I will go for a walk.”
Paul walked out, putting on the jeans jacket just before leaving the office landscape.

Lindsey rolled her eyes and turned to the colleague next to her.

“Going for a walk? What does he think we are doing here? Playing around, only working when we feel like it? We got work to do and he just walks out, leaving us here!”
With an annoyed frown, she continued working.

When Paul came back fifteen minutes later, he had a big grin on his face.
“I got it!”, he said, starting to type as soon as his rear touched the chair.
Lindsey couldn’t stand Paul. Young, talkative and just not responsible enough. He gave her a headache. She closed her eyes for a second. The urge became stronger.
“I need a smoke”, she explained to her colleague, grabbed the package of cigarettes and headed for the door. On the way she saw something in her colleague’s eyes. “What?”
“Going for a smoke? What do you think we are doing here? Playing around, only working when we feel like it?”

Photo by Kelvin Valerio from Pexels

Taking breaks is good for creativity and for our health. Still, many work places have a culture where some breaks are accepted while others are not.

I am in touch with people who use smoke breaks to get a break – not because they want to smoke.

 If it would be accepted to take a walk break, a sit-in-silence break, a listen-to- music break, we would increase creativity and efficiency and our employees would be a lot healthier.

Is it time to change how you look at breaks in your work place?

Then initiate that change!


Shrinks, mates and grandmothers

The 15-year-old girl walked unsteadily towards the bus stop. Her hands were shaking like those of an old lady with Parkinson. The anxiety was hard to fight. Her throat felt cramp, her heart was fluttering, and black spots danced in front of her eyes. She didn’t want to get on a bus filled with strangers. She didn’t want to go further than she had ever gone, to the big city she had never been to. Her mother had asked her to go, urged her to go. Maybe this was her only chance. Mum had emptied the jar with food money and pushed the bills and coins in her hand.

When the bus stopped in front of her, she almost fainted. An older man helped her get into the bus. She asked the driver what the ticket would cost. When she heard the price, a price so much higher than all the money mum had given her, she stumbled back out, running away, dropping a letter on the ground. The man who had helped her on to the bus picked up the letter. Invitation to psychiatric evaluation. When he looked up the girl was gone. A few hours later she was found hanging from a tree.

I am sorry to say that the story is based on real events, as described by Eben Shapiro in the article A humble solution to global depression in TIME.  16,5 million people live in Zimbabwe, a country with 12 (!) trained psychiatrists. The 15-year-old girl was on her way to one of them, Dr. Dixon Chibanda, for a scheduled evaluation. She couldn’t afford the $15 bus fare and hanged herself.

Dr Dixon Chibanda decided to do something to improve the situation for others in her situation. With only 12 psychiatrists in the country, something had to be done to increase access to help.
“It suddenly dawned on me that one of the most reliable resources we have in Africa is grandmothers.”
This reminds me of a scene in the film Crocodile Dundee, when Dundee is surprised about Americans talking about their “shrinks” and asks why they don’t just talk to their mates.  

Mates and grandmothers are great when it comes to offering help. When it comes to psychiatric illnesses you will need more skills, so Dr Dixon Chibanda’s organization Friendship Bench trains Zimbabwean grandmothers in problem-solving therapy and behaviour activation.

There is no such thing as unsolvable problems. Too often we limit ourselves by thinking we don’t have the resources. Not enough psychiatrists, not enough money, not enough time. When you switch your mind to: “There is always a way”, you will find the solutions.

Like Dr Dixon Chibanda, who decided to, and found, a way.
You can read more about Friendship Bench here.


Strategies for taking on more work - or how to deal with your husband leaving

My husband left.
Not in any dramatic sense, he only went away for a few days, on a trip I had recommended. What that meant for me though, was that I had to take on his tasks at home.

The same happens at work. Your colleague is off for a few days and you are asked to cover for her/him.

In this post I share strategies you can apply when you find yourself responsible for someone else's tasks on top of your own.

Case study: Taking over the responsibility for shopping and cooking food for the family for 6 days. Additional complication: I hate cooking, and don't even care much for eating. 

Step 1: Ask yourself if the additional tasks need to be handled at all

Whatever tasks you have been asked to take on, ask yourself if they are important enough to handle during the limited time period.
Too often we do things just because they are normally done. To manage your time well, always question if what you are doing is worth your time.
In our case, eating during the days my husband and oldest son were away, was important enough to manage, one way or the other.

Step 2: Define the ambition level

When you take on someone else's tasks on top of your own, there is most likely a need to reduce the ambition level - either on what you already do or on what you take on, to make it all fit in to the time you have available.

In our case there was plenty of room for lowering the ambition level. My husband cares about food and cooks "properly". Me? Not so much.

When my husband asked what we would eat when he was away, I shrugged and said
"Müesli and sandwiches. Left-overs. Whatever we find in the fridge." 
This ambition level suited me and my middle son well. But there was one more stakeholder -  and he did not agree.

Step 3: Agree on the ambition level with all stakeholders

Whenever you take on additional tasks, agree with all stakeholders on the ambition level. For instance agreeing with the colleague you are taking over tasks from, what the minimum level is.

In our case, the dissatisfied stakeholder was our youngest son. A 12 year old who watches cooking programs on Youtube and who remembers different events by what he ate.

 "Oh, you mean when we were at the restaurant where I had [a dish I don't even know what it is]?"
So the ambition level couldn't go quite as low as I initially planned.

Step 4: Check if you can get help

When you find yourself taking on more work than normal, you can ask for help with your normal tasks or with the additional tasks.
We often think we need to manage things on our own, when there are plenty of people around who can and want to help out.
In our case this meant involving the youngest son, the one who actually likes cooking.

We did the grocery shopping together. He prepared the shopping list and he found all the things in the store. I paid and drove us to the shop and back.

He cooked most meals. I contribued with a fruit salad.

One evening the youngest son was away, eating at a friend. My middle son and I ate ramen noodles and were perfectly happy with our meal. And the small amount of dishes.

Step 5: Managing the unexpected

Your colleague probably handed over some tasks properly. But then there was this extra thing (s)he forgot to mention and it turns out it has to be managed.
Then it is time to get creative. And in our case - brave.
My husband has more tasks than cooking at home. He is also the house spider man, meaning moving any spiders from our house to our garden. (There will be no killing of animals in my house.)

We had prepared to take over the tasks from the family cook. Not from the house spider man. And still, there it was. A huge, terrible spider sitting on the ceiling, just above the computer desk. The youngest son went out and refused to come in again until we (my middle son and I) had "taken care of it".

We quickly went through all the steps above:

Do we really need to take care of the spider? Yes we do. The youngest son will not come back into the house as long as the spider is there. And the rest of us don't like it lurking above our heads either.

Can we reduce the ambition level?  Taking it out was the only ambition level we could agree on.

Can we get help?  I was seriously considering asking the neighbour for help but I felt too silly to do that, so in the end it became a collaboration between my middle son and myself. I got it into the vase (it was too big for a glass - or at least we thought so) and put paper on top, he put the spider and vase in the garden.

Then we celebrated. We made it! Remember to celebrate when you have managed something new.

I am happy my husband is coming home soon.


Is your day longer than a week?

Lindsey dragged herself out of bed for the third time that night. The baby was teething and kept waking up. After an hour of carrying around the baby while sleepily singing, Lindsey fell asleep in the armchair, with the baby on her stomach. Early in the morning Lindsay’s husband carefully put a blanket over the two of them.

The day was endless. It contained all the normal elements of a rushed breakfast where she ended up cleaning up after the children, asking them to hurry up and getting everyone into the car before realizing she had not eaten anything herself.

At work the tempo was as high as usual, meetings taking longer than planned, leaving no time for her normal tasks. She kept checking her watch, feeling as if the work day should have been over by now, but the hands of the watch moved as slowly as her tired mind.

When she went out of the office and got into her car, she looked at the flyer on the windshield. “Spring market” it read in a playful bright yellow font.
Spring market? Already? How could the days be so long and the weeks so short?

In Man’s search for meaning, Viktor E. Frankl describes how we can suffer from deformed time.
“In camp, a small time unit, a day, for example, filled with hourly tortures and fatigue, appeared endless. A larger time unit, perhaps a week, seemed to pass very quickly. My comrades agreed when I said that in camp a day lasted longer than a week.”
Time is special. We can and do measure it, in a clear and linear manner. But we can experience it in all kinds of ways.
The deformed time Viktor Frankl described, is especially common when we don’t see a clear goal or meaning with our lives. Then we go into auto pilot mode and the days become boring and long – at the same time as the weeks fly by since we experience so few new things.

If your days seem grey and boring, lift your eyes, remember why you are here, who you love and what you are working for. 

With this in mind, you will make the most of each day instead of “robbing the present of its reality” as Viktor put it.


The danger of postponing

The bouquet was placed on a table in the office. Mr. Jones sat on a chair next to it, smiling and choked up. He unwrapped the presents from his colleagues, occasionally removing a tear or laughing at someone’s joke.

Lindsey looked at her watch, wondering how long she needed to stay to not be considered rude. Not that she didn’t like Mr. Jones. On the contrary, he was one of her favorite colleagues. He had employed her years ago. It was hard to imagine he would not be here on Monday. He would be a pensioner, enjoying life, while the rest of them would be at work, stressing away as usual.

Lindsey tapped nervously with her foot. She had to leave within ten minutes to beat the traffic and pick up her daughter. They mustn’t come late to the piano lesson again. 

When Mr. Jones had unwrapped all presents and given his goodbye speech, Lyndsey made her way through the crowd. She put her hand on his arm.

“Mr. Jones, thank you for all our years together. I must say I am a bit envious. You will have so much time now!”
He raised an eyebrow and put a hand on hers, shaking it a bit.
I will have much time? Dear Lindsey, I will soon turn seventy. You are in your thirties. You, my dear, are the one with time. “

Are you saying that you will do something "when you have time”?
  • when you retire,
  • when the kids move out,
  • when this project is over,
  • when the house renovation is done,
  • when…

Postponing things that are important, is a dangerous game. You may not be around when “later” comes.
Prepare for tomorrow without sacrificing today; experience something that matters to you every day.  


Choose compassion - also for yourself

Clara heard them, she saw their looks. The tweenies standing in the middle of the subway car, whispering to each other, laughing and looking at her. She knew she was taking up more than one seat, but it was the end of a long workday. She was too exhausted to stand. Besides, no one would want to stand close to her anyway. It is hard to not stink when you are fat. She could feel the sweat between the rolls. At the end of a day she would always smell, no matter how much deodorant she used.  
“Why don’t you go by bike, fatso? Then you will get slim and we don’t have to look at your fat ass!” 
The group of kids erupted in laughter, admiring the tall girl who had dared to make fun of the middle-aged woman.

Clara looked out the window even if all she could see was her own reflection. No, she saw more than her own reflection, she also saw the reflection of an older man. He was looking at her, searchingly, as if he tried to remember where they had met.

At the next stop, the group of kids went out, shouting more insults as the doors closed. The man who had looked at her stood up and walked to her, gripping the pole to keep his balance.
“Clara? Clara Miller, is it you? I’m Arthur, Arthur Anderson, remember? We were neighbors when you were a child. “
Clara looked up and saw the man from her childhood. Grey hair, stooped, but she recognized him. How could he recognize her? She had been a small, slim girl then. Not a middle-aged obese woman. For some reason, tears welled up in her eyes.
Mr. Anderson sat down next to Clara. He put his wrinkled hand lightly on her knee.
“I should have done something then. I guess I understood something was wrong in your house, but I was too busy with work, my own family… I should have done something Clara. “
Clara blinked repeatedly, her stomach turned, her hands trembled.
“I still see the beautiful little girl in you; she is hiding underneath all that blubber. You don’t need to hide anymore girl. You can be safe and beautiful. I promise, you can be beautiful and safe now.”

In As a man thinketh, James Allen writes:
"Change of diet will not change a woman who will not change her thoughts."
Do you have a fat colleague? An obese friend? A neighbor with fat rolls? Do you ever wonder why they don’t just get their act together? Change their diet and move more?
Chances are they have thoughts and experiences that make them unconsciously choose to stay where they are. 

Your judgement will not help them. Your compassion might.
Maybe that fat person who is unable to change is you.
Or maybe you are the procrastinator, the one who never concludes things or the one who is continuously late?

Don’t judge yourself. Be kind and find the real reason for your behavior. Only then can you change it. Choose compassion - also for yourself.


Surprising advice to working mums

Manda sat at a small round table in the corner of the café. At first, she didn’t recognize the tired looking woman who rushed in through the door. The woman looked around, pushing a strand of hair away from her puffy face. When she saw Manda she let out a high pitched sound and made her way over to the table, not even noticing that she pushed an elderly man to the side. 

“There you are, how lovely to see you!”
Manda stood up to give Lindsey a hug, but Lindsey stayed on the other side of the table and gave Manda a quick kiss on the cheek instead, leaving a faint smell of perfume in the air.

“I can’t believe we haven’t seen each other for so long”, Lindsey said as she sat down. “But it’s really crazy you know. My work keeps expanding. I got promoted, did I tell you that? It’s great, it really is, but there is no way I can manage everything in normal work hours. So, after I pick up the girls from school, bring them to their activities and make dinner – I log in again. It’s crazy, it really is. Did I tell you that my youngest started piano lessons? It takes an hour to drive there, but I really wanted her to have the best teacher you know? We all want our best for our children, don’t we?”
Manda was about to answer, but she closed her mouth when she noticed that Lindsey was not ready to listen. She needed to talk.
“I really wish we could meet more often Manda, I really do. Being with you always calms me down you know? But I just can’t find the time to meet my friends. I am always chasing my tail. There is always something to do, always something at work or with the kids. And I always come last you know. Don’t you have that? You look so calm, I don’t get it. And you look young. When I looked at myself this morning I almost screamed, I thought my mum was in the bathroom. I look ten years older than you do! I don’t get enough sleep, I know I don’t. And I make sure the kids train and everything, but there is just no time for me to train. Do you still go to that yoga class once a week?”
Manda nodded. Lindsey sighed. 
“I wish I could do that too. But, you know, my husband and I. We are having some issues. So, I just don’t have any energy, even if I could find the time. You know what I mean?”
Manda shook her head. She didn’t want to nod and go along. She didn’t want Lindsey to think her life was normal. Manda asked how her daughters were.

 “They are doing great you know, the oldest just started studying Chinese on top of the normal curriculum. I told her she doesn’t have to, she doesn’t have to be so over-ambitious. I told her to enjoy life a bit more, while she is young. But she doesn’t seem to listen.”
Manda smiled.
“She is listening alright. Not to your words, but to all the things you do.”
Lindsey looked confused.
“What do you mean?”
Manda put her warm hand on Lindsey’s. It was shaking.
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Take care of you, and your kids will be just fine."

As a single mother, Elica has learned the importance of taking care of herself in order to take care of her daughter. She shares her experience and advice in this video.

As a working parent, you can be both powerful and mindful - if you remember to take good care of you.


Keep the baby when you throw out the bath water

“What do you think, general?”
The general had his wide back turned towards me. He was looking out the window. Even though we were on the 8th floor, I understood he did not really see anything of the big, broken city under us.
“Can we ever get peace in this city?” I continued. “All we see is hate and revenge. Over and over again.”
Finally he turned around. The look in his eyes was as tired and grey as the sky outside.
“We can only get peace here if everyone gets amnesia.  So we can forget everything and start all over.”
With heavy steps he passed me and walked out of the room.
I went to the place at the window where he had stood before.  I saw kids playing in the debris after a building that had been blown up only last week. Once, maybe not even long ago, the ones who killed each other now, had played together just like these kids.
“No general, that would not work”, I mumbled. “We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water. “

I recently read Kazuo Ishiguro’s The buried giant, where Merlin tried to solve wars by making people forget. The only problem is that all memories go away. Also the great ones. The ones that make us happy, the ones that make us remember why we love someone.

Some want to leave all of their past behind, all of their memories.
Others want to avoid certain feelings. Anxiety, grief and loss… Today there are medicines available to numb these feelings. The only problem is; we can’t numb selected feelings.

When we numb feelings, we numb all of them. When we want to forget the past, we forget all of it. Like using pesticides in a garden to get rid of the weeds and killing all the roses too. 

Maybe, instead of forgetting everything, or numbing everything, we can all learn to live with both darkness and light. Appreciate what life brings, also when it is not what we want. Only then will we fully experience – rather than avoid – this amazing, difficult thing called life.


Is your life the way it was supposed to be?

She stared at the e-mail, blinking rapidly to remove the embarassing tears.  She was in the office for god's sake, she could not sit here crying like a little girl.
But she was crying. Quietly and carefully, making sure the colleagues in the open plan office would not notice. She fumbled around in her pocket, but could not find a tissue. She quickly removed the tears with her finger. 
The organizational message in her inbox was taunting her. Someone else had gotten the job she had applied for. A man, three years her junior, both in age and at the company. And they had not even bothered to tell her, they had not  contacted her after the interview.


She had been in the same position for five years. She - the ambitous one, the star student, stuck in a job she was overqualified for.
This was not how her life was supposed to be. 

There is a simple formula for disappointment.
Expectations ≠ Reality  =  Disappointment
When we expect one thing but life gives us something else, we get disappointed.
Even if the formula is simple, the feelings can be hard to deal with. Sadness, grief, loss of confidence...

When you feel disappointed, take a step back and look at what caused it.

Once you understand what your feeling of loss comes from, allow yourself to be sad, to be angry. To let go.

Then move on.

Accept your new situation, get used to it and make the best of it.

At some point in time, you may notice that what was not supposed to be - was exactly that.  


Does your box of time have holes in it?

How do you visualize your time?

Snowman in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake talks about time as a box.

"He has to find more and better ways of occupying his time. His time, what a bankrupt idea, as if he's been given a box of time that belongs to him alone, stuffed to the brim with hours and minutes that he can spend like money. The trouble is, the box has holes in it and the time is running out, no matter what he does with it." 

I don't think the idea is so "bankrupt".

We all have boxes of time and time is steadily running out of them.

Some live long and have large boxes. Some only live shortly on this earth and have small packets rather than boxes.

The holes in the boxes let time through in an equal pace for all of us though. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Are you happy about how you have used the time that has run out of your box until now?

I hope so.

If not, remember that all the time that is still in your box can be used the way you want to. All you need to do is to realize that your box contains your time. You get to decide how to spend it.  It is never too late to become the master of your time, the master of your box.

May you make the most of all the time you still have in your box.


See beyond the explanations

Have you heard someone call a man hysterical lately?

Or ever?

Chances are you haven't, but you may have heard someone call a woman hysterical.

I recently read Rebecca Solnit's Män förklarar saker för mig / Men explain things to me.

In the book Rebecca describes that the word hysterical comes from the greek word hysteria which means uterus. When women were "hysterical" and showed extreme emotions and confusion, an explanation was needed. So an explanation was made up.

Hysteria came from - prepare for this explanation - "a wandering uterus".

Meaning that men could not be hysterical.

Today it is easy to laugh or shrug at this ridiculous explanation. Wandering uteruses. Who on earth came up with that?

Coming up with an explanation to prove what you believe, or what you want others to believe, is not uncommon. It happens all the time. 

Women cannot... because...
Men cannot... because...
Black people cannot... because...
Jews cannot... because...

Explanations are not proof. They are justifications for something someone believes in. 

Don't buy into explanations without using your own common sense.
Don't let anyone fool you.

And most of all - don't let yourself fool you, by explaining why you cannot do something you could do - if you weren't afraid of failing. 
Look beyond the explanation.
That is where you will find the truth.


Give your 2019 goals a chance to succeed

We have a bright new year ahead of us! Have you set goals? Any new year resolutions?

Many of these resolutions don't last, and far from all goals that are set, are reached.

Let's look at how you can increase your ability to reach the goals you have set.

For now I will assume you have set the goal to train more this year.

Write down what your life would be like in an ideal world. 
If you could have, do and feel everything you wanted, what would your life be like?

Make sure your 2019 goal is connected to this vision. 
Will achieving your 2019 goal move you towards your vision? Is training more related to the vision of  your life? If not, consider another goal, or a re-phrasing of your goal.

Next, make sure your goal is connected to who you are.

Who are you? You are a person who takes on several different roles in your life. Like being a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend, a colleague...

Choose the role that is related to the goal you have chosen. 

Write down what your mission is for this role; what your reason for being is.

Make sure your 2019 goal is connected to your role and your mission. 

Let me give you an example.

My husband and I have several visions for our lives. One of them is:

Happy, Healthy, Loving, Family. 

Two of the related roles are Parents and Lovers.

Our mission for Parents is

Providing Love, Security and Guidance. 

Our mission as Lovers is:

Side by side through good times and bad
Love and attraction forever. 

If I set a health goal with all the above in mind, I will be a lot more likely to achieve the goal than if I just set an isolated goal like "I will train more 2019".

Connect your goals to your vision and your mission and you will achieve them.

Good luck!